CLEVELAND (WJW) – Additional protection from COVID could soon be on the way for kids ages 12 to 15 years old.
Pfizer COVID booster shots could be in arms as soon as this week. Vaccine advisors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the booster dose for children as young as 12, but the CDC director still needs to approve the move before vaccinations could begin.
“Parents really are concerned, as we all are, about the rising number of pediatric hospitalizations,” said Dr. Brook Watts, Chief Medical Officer of Community and Public Health at MetroHealth. “Parents of kids who have the higher risk conditions, the asthmas of the world, those parents are really coming out and trying to get their kids vaccinated quickly.”
How quickly can parents begin scheduling booster shot appointments? The answer varies depending on each provider.
“Because there is such demand in our community right now for vaccines, we are having to open special clinics, particularly with those after school hours and we’re hoping to begin those next week,” said Dr. Watts.
A Cleveland Clinic spokesperson said it can take a few days following CDC approval for booster vaccinations to begin at their facilities.
According to Lorain County Public Health vaccinations could start 24 to 48 hours after approval. Additional appointment slots were added for the next three weeks to accommodate demand.
A Walgreens spokesperson said parents of children 12 to 15 could potentially schedule an appointment for a booster dose as early as Thursday, pending CDC approval.
At the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the process is anticipated to take longer. A spokesperson said, “Once CDC approves, we then have to wait for ODH to adopt guidance and make provisions. Given that, it will likely take 1-2 weeks following approval for us to be prepared.”
Meanwhile, Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said they will be ready to begin administering shots quickly.
“It would be within a day because we’re vaccinating every day,” said Skoda. “I think we’ll be able to do that very quickly. We’ve ramped up for every time there’s a change in eligibility for the vaccine.”
Senders Pediatrics in South Euclid could begin booster doses for children as young as 12 this week. The practice is currently involved in Pfizer’s pediatric COVID vaccine trials.
“The vaccines are in the office. The same vaccines that we’ve been using in the 16 and 17-year-old’s,” said Dr. Senders. “We’ve opened up extra slots for Thursday and Friday in anticipation of this opportunity.”
It’s an opportunity even for children who recently recovered from COVID.
“Because there’s been a lot of COVID disease with Omicron, there’s many, many kids who have actually gotten the disease,” said Dr. Senders. “The question is, should they get boosted? The current recommendation is you can give a booster as long as soon as you’ve recovered from the disease, you don’t have to wait 3 months.”